M. Massimi, Reading the history of the electron through perspectival spectacles
March 14, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
What is it like to be an electron? This question has invited very different answers across the history of science. Through the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the electron has been regarded as the minimal unit of electric charge, structural element of the ether, and corpuscle, just to mention a few examples. And yet, these series of conceptual changes have not undermined our realist commitment to it. In this paper, I probe the nature of this realist commitment through scientific perspectives. My goal is to offer a qualified defense of what I call a perspectival realist commitment to the electron.